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The Emancipation of Evan Walls: A conversation with author and VCU alumnus Jeffrey Blount

7 p.m. - 9 p.m. Sept. 18, 2019

Acclaimed author and VCU alumnus Jeffrey Blount discusses his book The Emancipation of Evan Walls. The event will be followed with a Q&A moderated by Jeanne Meserve, a book sale and a reception.

This event is free and open to all, but please register. Paid parking available in the West Broad Street, West Main Street and West Cary Street parking decks. If special accommodations or registration assistance are needed, call the VCU Libraries Events Office at (804) 828-0593.

Register today.

About the speakers

Jeffrey Blount is an Emmy Award–winning television director whose 34-year career at NBC News included a decade of directing Meet the Press, The "Today" show, the Chris Matthews Show and others. He is a commentator on issues of race and social justice and also an accomplished novelist whose latest book, The Emancipation of Evan Walls, is forthcoming this spring from Koehler Books.

Jeanne Meserve is an award-winning security analyst, journalist and media coach. She worked as a correspondent for CNN and ABC for which she won two Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award. Her work specializes in intelligence and security. She has covered the death of Princess Diana, Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 attacks. She is married to Jeffrey Blount.

About the book

Evan Walls has been married to his wife Izzy for 13 years, yet she knows nothing about half of his life. However, the birth of their first child changes everything. Evan, fearful of a reincarnation of his childhood in the life of his new daughter, finally finds the courage to tell his wife.

It is June 1968. The Civil Rights movement is winding down after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. Evan is ten years old and, in the jargon of the times, young, gifted and black. In the presence of his parents and a summer porch gathering of their friends, he makes a startling declaration. From that moment on, the central question of his life is born. Is he black enough?

Evan has a dream that will turn the sleepy town of Canaan upside down, forcing him to walk the slippery and angry slope between blacks and whites. In time, his dream disintegrates a family, a marriage, countless friendships and a dramatic first love. Only his great-grandmother, Mama Jennie and mentor, Bojack, help him fight to keep his dream alive. Only Izzy can help him come to grips with what he learns from telling his traumatic life story.


James Branch Cabell Library, 3rd floor lecture hall, 901 Park Ave., Richmond Va., 23284


Kelly Gotschalk
(804) 827-1163